MOSCOW – German, French, and Swedish medical experts agree: Alexei Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s highest-profile domestic critic and the founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. Navalny has survived. Russia’s relationship with Germany may not — and that would not necessarily be a bad outcome.
Emphasizing the importance of taking “a clear stance,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared Navalny to be the “victim of a crime intended to silence him.” The case, in her view, raises “very serious questions” that “only the Russian government” can — and must — answer. “The world,” she averred, “will wait for an answer.”